The Double Standard in Women's Equality is Alive and Well

By Gini Dietrich

Alright boys and girls. We need to have a little chat.

The chat isn’t a new one for Spin Sucks readers. In fact, it’s not a new one in the movement for women’s equality in the past 60 years.

But, even in 2013, there continues to be a double standard about women in the workplace so we have to continue to have the chat.

Marissa Mayer, the new chief at Yahoo!, did an interview and photo shoot with Vogue, one of the more serious fashion magazines out there.


A female executive put on pretty clothes and talked about how much she loves her new job?

Well, crap. There goes women’s equality. Now if we put on a Michael Kors dress and Yves Saint Laurent stiletto heels and do photo shoots for Vogue we won’t be taken seriously.

I’m sorry. Maybe I’m not supposed to say this, but if Vogue asked me to do a photo shoot and interview with them, I would jump at the chance. Put me in pretty clothes, do my hair and makeup, photoshop out some of my physical flaws, and let me talk about the business I’m growing? I would LOVE that.

The Double Standard

But apparently there is s still a double standard in this world.

CNN, among many other serious news outlets, used headlines such as, “Sexed Up and Smart,” “The Geek as Babe,” and “Women: Please Don’t be Stylish. Also Please Don’t Be Frumpy.”

We can’t freaking win. Hillary Clinton is lambasted for wearing pantsuits.  Tarja Halonen, the Finnish president, for wearing “unflattering styles.” And now Marissa Mayer for – gasp! – looking gorgeous in Vogue.

If she were a man, this would not be news. Richard Branson has been photographed and interviewed. Mark Cuban has, too. Where is the backlash about either of them looking sexy with a couple of buttons undone on their shirts?

I just finished reading Lean In (blog post forthcoming) and one of the things that struck me was this: Women make up more than half of the world’s population, but we don’t have more than half – heck, not even half – of the power.

Work Together…Not Against One Another

What would happen if we all worked together to gain equality versus fighting one another all of the time?

What would happen if we refused to be interviewed for these kinds of stories?

What would happen if we stopped nodding our head in agreement about the double standard and letting it make the rounds?

What would happen if, oh I don’t know, we supported one another instead of judging each other because someone might not make the same choices we make?

Men do that. Why can’t we do that?

I will leave you with this: We can’t expect men to treat us differently than we treat ourselves. Marissa Mayer doing an interview and photo shoot with Vogue is not news. If anything, it helps her gain more exposure and brand awareness for the work she’s doing AND it empowers young women to set their sights on big career moves (if that’s what they want to do).

I read the article. I looked at the pictures. I’m inspired and feel empowered. Why not leave it at that?

P.S. You can thank Lindsay Bell-Wheeler for getting me fired up about this. After we had an email exchange about the ridiculousness of it all, all she wrote back to me was, “BLOG POST!”

P.P.S. We have Jay Baer joining us on August 29 for a free webinar about his new book, Youtility. You can register here.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich